Is there an undiscovered planet in our solar system ? Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet in our own solar system and it might not be alone.
Known as 2012 VP113, the new dwarf planet is thought to be 450km wide and exists in a distant orbit twice as far from the Sun as Pluto. It is the second such body ( the other being Sedna ) to be found within this cold and desolate region of our solar system.
"We thought Pluto was unique for over 70 years, but we now know that it shares its orbit with thousands of other objects," said astronomer Scott Sheppard. "Sedna was unique for about 10 years but it's now clear that Sedna and 2012 VP113 are just the tip of the iceberg."
The discovery of this new body however has come with some intriguing indications that there could be something a lot larger lurking in the outer solar system. Astronomers observing the orbits of these distant bodies have found that they seem to align in such a way so as to suggest the presence of another much larger world around 10 times the size of the Earth.
"It is possible that some undiscovered large object out there is doing this," said Mike Brown who co-founded Sedna. "But there are likely many other explanations, too, most of them sadly more mundane."
Source: New Scientist | Comments (26)